Donny and Marie Osmond bring their Christmas show to Foxwoods
Here's how long Donny Osmond's career has lasted: he's releasing his 60th album in January.
Osmond, 57, has kept working - sometimes in different arenas - since making his professional singing debut at the tender age of 5. He went from 1970s teen heartthrob ("Puppy Love" and "Go Away Little Girl") to 1980s comeback kid ("Soldier of Love").
He starred in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for a long stretch during the 1990s. He won "Dancing with the Stars" in 2009.
He and his wife, Debbie, recently started their own line of furniture, Donny Osmond Home.
And he and sister Marie are continuing their years-long run with their Vegas show at the Flamingo (more on that in a bit). They've been doing a Christmas concert for five seasons, too, and are presenting it at Foxwoods' Grand Theater starting Tuesday.
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Donny Osmond last week:
Osmond says they didn't know what to expect when he and Marie debuted their Christmas show on Broadway, but it proved to be enough of a crowd pleaser that they've staged it again each year. As for putting that concert together, Osmond took a cue from his own preferences - that, when he sees a Christmas show, he likes to hear more than holiday tunes:
"I don't want wall-to-wall Christmas music. You have to leave with an insulin shot, you know? (Instead), you give them a lot of variety. So what we've done is we've peppered the show with a lot of elements from our Las Vegas show, which we're so proud of. We were supposed to be there for six weeks back in 2008, and we just signed for another two years - this'll take is to an eight-year deal ... And we got the award for Best Show of Las Vegas. We're proud of that. So we're bringing those elements to Foxwoods, along with Christmas music. Not every song is going to be a Christmas song. You've got to cover the hits, you've got to cover a little nostalgia, you've got to bring them up to date."
Shows like the Vegas ones that were scheduled for a short period but end up being extended and extended - that seems a trend with Osmond. Does he think maybe he's underestimated to begin with?
"Maybe. Maybe a little bit. I think when you come from a teen idol type of beginning, everybody kind of thinks, 'Well, that's what it is. It's finite, and that's what it'll always be.' So it's been a very interesting 50-year career of reinventing yourself. When I did 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,' that was supposed to be six months and that turned into six years. 'Soldier of Love' - everybody wrote me off as far as being able to get back on the charts, and that, they called the comeback of the '80s. So show business is an interesting animal in that you've got to constantly reinvent yourself.”
His latest project is the CD "The Soundtrack of My Life," to be released on Jan. 13:
"This is actually - I know this sounds like a promotional kind of a phrase - but this is probably the most important album out of all 60 for me because it's autobiographical. I had so much fun recording this thing. The criteria for the songs to put on this album - it had to have a significant backstory to it ... In other words, the first song, 'My Cherie Amour,' was the first 45 I ever bought, and Stevie Wonder has been my musical hero pretty much all my life. So I called him up, and I said, 'Would you be willing to play harmonica on my version of your song?' He said, 'Well, send me the track' - because, you know, he wasn't going to commit to just anything. So I sent him an MP3, and the next thing I know, my phone rings. It's his assistant, and she said, 'Stevie is on the other line and would like to speak to you.' My heart stopped because this my musical hero calling me. He gets on and said, 'Donny, send me the masters right now. I love this track. I've got to be part of this project.'"
The album includes Osmond's covers of songs originally made famous by everyone from Paul McCartney to Andy Williams, "who discovered me," Osmond says:
"The interesting challenge you have when you're doing an album like this is that if you do it just like the original, that's called karaoke. I'm not interested in karaoke. So I changed it up enough to make it my own."
Another of the numbers he does on the new CD is "Ben," which Michael Jackson recorded for the 1972 film of the same name about a boy and his pet rat. The song, though, was first offered to Osmond:
"That was my song, and I couldn't record it because I was touring at the time. So they got Michael to sing it. It became his first #1 solo record. It's funny because when Michael and I would talk about it, we would laugh our heads off because he said, 'You had a hit about a puppy, and I had a hit about a rat.'"
Donny and Marie Osmond's Christmas show, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, and 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 27 and 4 p.m. Dec. 28, Foxwoods' Grand Theater; $50-$150; 1-800-200-2882.
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